Maybe they saw dollar signs, or maybe it was in the works all along. However it’s come to be, a report from Giga Om suggests that Instagram is ready to package a messaging feature into its service. That would give Instagram a textual spin on their visual sharing powerhouse.

You’ll hopefully recall that Facebook purchased Instagram for a cool $1billion in early 2012. We’re also reminded that Snapchat is said to have recently turned down a $3 billion offer from Zuckerberg and friends, which could have been a precursor for today’s news. It’s possible that Facebook was intending to cluster Snapchat into Instagram, bolstering its user base and dramatically increasing the utility of both platforms.

It’s also possible that the reason for such a rebuff was that Snapchat didn’t want to lose their identity inside of Instagram, if that were the case. The Instagram messaging service is said to offer both private and group chats, mimicking many contemporary services like the aforementioned Snapchat and iMessage. It would also put Instagram toe-to-toe with Google’s Hangouts.

When will we see this new function? According to Giga Om’s sources, it should show up in an Instagram update prior to the end of the year. Good timing for Instagram, with other services strengthening their stake, and the holidays fast approaching. With so many new phones exchanging hands, people will want somewhere to share their pics, and a place to converse about it all. Increasingly so, we don’t want to migrate between services to do that.